By Andy Young
Australian craft beer White Rabbit, which is owned by Lion, has announced that plans are underway to build a new brewery at the site of the Little Creatures brewery in Geelong.
Construction will start immediately and is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
In November, Lion announced that it was relocating its White Rabbit Brewery in Healesville to the Little Creatures Brewery site in Geelong to meet growing demand for the White Rabbit brand. Plans for the new brewery have now been approved by Geelong City Council and professional services firm, BECA, will lead the construction with Victorian contractors appointed where possible.
Lion Craft Director, Gordon Treanor, said: "While we will greatly miss the charm of Healesville, we are very much looking forward to calling White Rabbit Brewery and Cellar Door, Geelong our new home.
"It will allow us to grow the White Rabbit brand, increase production and further explore our ethos of 'Fermentation with Imagination'.
"What is particularly exciting about our new White Rabbit Brewery’s design is a barrel hall which will enable us to develop a range of beers using old world brewing techniques blended with new world thinking.
"We will be barrel fermenting, souring and developing beer styles, using a range of new and old wine and spirit barrels – something we have not yet seen on a large commercial scale in Australia."
Treanor added that craft beer fans could expect to see some new ales join the White Rabbit stable.
"With the additional space at our new brewery, we will be able to innovate more, and explore and experiment freely which means we will have the capacity to introduce some interesting new recipes, nothing is off limits," he said.
Plans are also being finalised for a White Rabbit cellar door with a planning application to be submitted to Geelong City Council in the coming weeks. The Cellar Door will offer beer and food tastings, plus an education environment for adult visitors, along with a 'general store’ showcasing Victoria’s best craft produce.
It is expected that the brewery and cellar door in Geelong will be open to visitors by summer 2015. The White Rabbit brewery in Healesville will remain open to the public until Friday 29 May 2015.